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Hong Kong high-speed rail

Three routes to success for Hong Kong’s high-speed rail West Kowloon terminus

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 6:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 6:01am

It is paramount that the government maximise the benefits brought about by the high-speed rail link to Shenzhen, Guangzhou and beyond, to reaffirm Hong Kong’s position as a regional transport hub (“Thousands visit West Kowloon terminus of high-speed rail on open day”, September 1). However, to achieve this, three basic steps need to be taken.

First, safety. The fact that a mere red rainstorm flooded a high-speed train depot last month is worrying. What with reports of subsidence, leakage and astoundingly shoddy works on the Sha Tin-Central rail link, it is natural for one to have doubts about MTR works, including the safety of the high-speed rail. And these doubts cannot be dismissed with a simple “If we tell you it’s safe, it is safe”. Halting operations in the event of rain, as promised by the MTR operations director, cannot be a viable solution.

Second, enhanced efficiency and connectivity. This means rapid transit connections. The terminus must be conveniently connected with the Hong Kong International Airport, the ferry piers and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Ticketing should be made easy for all (including foreign travellers), including ensuring the availability of tickets via online channels.

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Third, and the most basic, yet over and again we see infrastructures around the city failing to get it right: a hassle-free experience for travellers. Clear signage, rain-free access to public transport, readily available staff speaking various languages, abundant charging ports and lockers, the list goes on, and the authorities should make every possible effort to perfect the logistics of the station.

Despite the many negative reports on the rail link, the thousands of residents who turned up on open days over the weekend were proof of Hongkongers’ expectations and high hopes for the success of the service. The government and the MTR should not let us down.

Felix Yung, Shek Tong Tsui